Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 84-91

​July 7th – 15th

Hopefully this will be the last time that I have to condense a bunch of days into one post.

The day we came into Tahoe,  Katana was not herself.  She was lethargic, and not the least bit playful.  Usually you can’t get a handle on her once she’s in a hotel room, but she just crawled under the bed and stayed there.

I noticed while administering her eye drops that her bad eye was blood shot,  and the veins in the whites of her eyes were bright and puffy. This was an indication that the pressure was high,  causing her a great deal of discomfort.

When our second day in Tahoe came, she wasn’t any better,  so I made the call to take a zero and see if she’d improve.

On the third day,  she still didn’t look good. I couldn’t even get her to leave the room,  and she didn’t want to walk at all.  She looked like the wind was completely out of her sails.

I knew in the back of my mind that there might come a time when I hit a crossroads with her in this condition. One road would lead to me completely carrying and supporting her for this hike,  which would be overall un-enjoyable for both of us; the other road would send her back home to a stable environment where she could be comfortable and further sort out her Glaucoma (remove the eye, and the potential for further discomfort).

I hit those crossroads on that morning. She made it 4 days hiking with me after I got her back at Sonora Pass. Four days is all it took for me to realize that her eye is still far too volatile to safely/comfortably finish this hike with me.

I made the heart wrenching decision to send her home once more,  for good.  At some point it just looks foolish, selfish, and ignorant to keep her out here,  despite her current health issues. I felt like I was very close to crossing that line if I decided to take her further.

Within 30 minutes of deciding she could no longer continue,  I’d rented a car from a local “Enterprise,” dropped Schweppes off at the trail head,  and began the cross country drive to Florida,  for the 4th time this year.

That Friday afternoon, I made it several hundred miles to Kingman, Arizona, not too far past Las Vegas on the first day.  On the second day,  I drove 31 hours straight,  without stopping,  and arrived home a little past noon on Sunday.  I drank six “5 hour energy Xtra Strengths” throughout the last 15 hours of the drive.  My whole body was amped,  and I felt like my bones were shaking.  I haven’t had a 5 hour energy since I was a teenager,  but I felt like they were necessary if I was going to drive straight through without falling asleep at the wheel.

That 31 hour bender really messed me up.  I stayed awake for the rest of that Sunday afternoon,  and by the time the evening rolled around,  I was at another high point in my circadian rhythm. I stayed naturally awake for most of the entire night.

I still had to get up early Monday and take Katana to a vet appt (her pressure was up,  but stable; it had actually improved during the drive home), then cooked a seafood dinner of Tuna, Mahi, and Shrimp for my family, girlfriend, and Schweppes’s mom.  I was a walking zombie.

Tuesday found me more or less on and off asleep for the entire day.

Wednesday found me up early once again,  in the car,  headed back West for the 5th time this year.  The drive back was brutal for me.  I was nodding off constantly,  and pulling over to sleep on the side of the road and rest stops quite frequently.
The first day I made it to San Antonio, TX. The second day I made it to Las Cruces, NM. The third day I made it to Ridgecrest, CA. The fourth day (which I will detail in its own blog post), I landed back in Tahoe a little after 11am.

I’ve done the math,  and since June 1st, I’ve had 22 dog related zero days.  22 zeros in a month and a half!  That’s absolutely insane. However,  I’ve still managed to stomp out around 400 of the trails most difficult miles in that time,  so I’m not too broken up about it.

I am not happy to be continuing this hike without my dog…

Go to Day 92.


  1. Katana may be missing you but it is a sure thing that she knows how much you love her and did what was right for her. You have given her such an amazing life so far. I have no doubt that she will adapt to her new situation and be back on the trail with you again. Maybe not on this adventure but there will be others. 🙂

  2. So sorry to hear Katana will not be able to finish out the journey with you…. I know while she is at home her sprite little heart and soul are with you all the way! Best wishes to you both!

  3. Amazing Man! You have done an amazing job taking care of Katana. Understand the grief. Peace out!

  4. Very sorry Katana won’t be with you on your journey. I take my Shiba Inu Chester everywhere so I can appreciate the way you feel. Continue on though. She will be waiting for you at the end!

  5. I am just getting caught up on all your posts. I am so very sorry you had to bring Katana back to Florida. It is obvious that you love her deeply and did the right thing at this time. You must be made of granite to have been able to do that drive several times already! I am in awe of you and your excellent writing.

  6. It breaks my heart that you had to take CatFox home. But you are her advocate and it is what is best for her. I’m sure you will adjust to life on the trail without her. Katana is in good care, and I’m sure she wants you to have a good hike.

  7. Oh man, I can only imagine how you must feel in your journey without Katana but you know in your heart that you did the right thing. I know it does not make it feel better or help, but you said it yourself and there comes a point it appears to be foolish to continue for selfish reasons.
    She will be with you in spirit and you will still finish this together in some way.

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